Hosted by Student Life, Kashtah trips across the UAE aim to enhance cultural and historical awareness of the country. Kashtah is the Arabic (UAE dialect) word for trip or an outing.
The trip to Ajman was my fourth Kashtah venture to another Emirate – leaving me but one emirate to visit this school year, Umm Al Quwain. Just past Sharjah and Dubai, Ajman is only a few hours from Abu Dhabi, but those pass quickly when spent asleep in the back of a bus.
The majority of our day we spent at the Ajman Stud Horse Farm, the training ground for many of the UAE’s most prized stallions and mares. Valued for their beauty and strength, these horses are a point of pride for Ajman, bringing home trophies upon trophies for their performances in shows around the world.
Guided by General Manager Khalid Al Omairi, we toured the ranch to see all 162 horses in their pens, including the mothers with their foals, with the stallions in a separate stable to control the breeding process. All these photogenic horses belonged to the Crown Prince of Ajman, Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, as did a nearby holiday home that we were also graciously allowed to visit. The home, decorated with items from all over the world, was coated with furs and skulls from animals found across the African continent, with a view over a crystal clear pool and into the desert where a large herd of gazelles could be seen.
Usually, Kashtah trips are spent in the city, touring art museums, cultural sites, and hipster cafes...this trip focused instead on an aspect of UAE culture usually neglected.
Usually, Kashtah trips are spent in the city, touring art museums, cultural sites, and hipster cafés, but this time we ended up spending our day at a single location, learning in depth about one specific place in Ajman. This trip focused instead on an aspect of UAE culture usually neglected, the individual pursuits of a number of Emiratis in the UAE, and often overshadowed by other aspects of the Gulf culture, like the camel races held at the outskirts of Abu Dhabi that I witnessed some months ago.
We were all blown away by the professionalism, hospitality, and standard of excellence of Ajman Stud and Ajman in general. Gifts and thanks were exchanged upon departure, and we headed on our way to lunch and back to Saadiyat. Though we may not have seen the entirety of the emirate, in concentrating our attention towards one slice of the culture, we may have achieved greater depth in our understanding of Ajman. Besides, we all returned to campus with new baseball caps with the word “Stud” written across their fabric.